An ‘edible hedge’ in Pilrig Park will launch Edinburgh’s Britain in Bloom bid this year. The hedge will be made up of plants which produce edible crop; the crop will then be harvested and used to produce local food such as jams, chutneys, jellies and cordials.

Other plants, such as Rosehips (Rosa rugosa), sloes (blackthorn), crab apple, elder and rowan; and hazel will also be used to produce nuts.

The scheme is a partnership project between the City of Edinburgh Council and Greener Leith.

Everyone in the local community will be able to help themselves to the rich pickings and Pilrig Park School have produced a recipe book, with ingredients from the special plant.

This year, Edinburgh is competing with Bristol, Milton Keynes and the Borough of Brent (London) in the ‘large city’ category of the Britain in Bloom 2011 competition.

Judges will visit the city later on in the year and be taken on a tour of Edinburgh’s horticultural highlights. Edinburgh’s ‘green credentials’ from the prettiness of the floral displays to how the city deals with graffiti will all be judged. The edible hedge will also reduce the amount of graffiti in the area as it’s to be planted against a wall which was heavily marked. Last year a similar hedge achieved almost 100 per cent reduction in graffiti.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said: “The ‘edible hedge’ is a novel idea to launch this year’s bid. Not only will it promote community engagement but it will make a real difference to the park itself. Edinburgh is a green city with many beautiful parks, gardens and woodland areas. We work hard with local communities to keep our public areas clean, green and beautiful. It is also important that local residents do their bit, however small to support the city in its quest to be the best in Britain.”

Charlotte Encombe, Greener Leith said: “We are very happy to be back in Pilrig Park to do some more planting of the Prickly Edible Berry Hedge. The first part of the hedge was planted in 2008 with the help of local volunteers and children from Pilrig School and it has been extremely successful in preventing graffiti as well as vandalism in the park. The native plant species are good for local wildlife and we hope that in years to come the hedge will produce the ingredients for many a pot of hedgerow jelly.”

Edinburgh in Bloom, led by the City of Edinburgh Council, is part of the Britain in Bloom movement, the largest horticultural campaign in Europe, and each year Edinburgh participates in the regional campaign.

As well as taking fab photos Thomas has also interviewed those involved for a wee podcast…

Photos by Thomas Haywood Photography